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Baby B's party put on hold: Rochester wins to stay alive

by Stephen Harris
Saturday, June 12, 1999

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Bruins fans who've watched enviously as a young and unsung Buffalo Sabres team has moved within three wins of the Stanley Cup should take heart from the enormous accomplishments this season of the Providence Bruins.

The historic season of the B's farm club may end with the Calder Cup as American Hockey League champions.

But the celebrating was put on hold for the Baby B's, whose bid for a sweep of the Cup final was foiled by the Rochester Americans, 4-2, last night. The winning breakaway goal midway through a nasty Period 3, the second of the night by the Amerks' Craig Fisher, came on a power play after a questionable penalty call on Providence's Peter Ferraro.

The Baby B's, who are 14-4 during its amazing playoff run, will attempt to put away the Amerks in Game 5 tonight (7:05) at the Providence Civic Center.

A key to the Sabres' success was the development over the last few years of young talent in the AHL, and now it is the Bruins who have never had more good prospects waiting in the wings.

``I remember the year we had kids like Jozef Stumpel and Glen Murray at Providence, and the consensus around the league was that we had the top prospects of any team,'' said Bruins director of player development Bob Tindall as he watched from the Blue Cross Arena seats last night.

``Well, to me, as far as quality and depth go, this group is better - probably the best we've ever had,'' said Tindall.

``I'd say this team had 8-9 players who should do well in the NHL.''

Providence, which registered 56 wins during the regular season, has set 38 AHL records this season - including the remarkable feat of going from last place a year ago to first this time around.

They had outscored the Amerks, 13-4, in the first three games.

Game 3 in Rochester Wednesday was ended on a goal by Rhode Island's Steven King in the third overtime.

Last night, the Bruins had a wide territorial edge in the first period, outshooting the Amerks, 9-6 - with most of their shots of the wide open and very dangerous variety.

Rochester goalie Martin Biron, who was considered by the Sabres to replace Dominik Hasek when the All-World goalie was briefly injured in the third-round series against Toronto, was very sharp.

The game's first goal came with just 39 seconds left in the first period, scored by the most experienced player on the ice, 38-year-old Randy Cunneyworth, who first played in the NHL 18 years ago.

After a turnover at the Rochester blueline by Baby Bruin Jason McBain, Cunneyworth went in alone off a 2-on-1 feed and beat goalie John Grahame with a backhander.

The Baby B's tied the game 3:20 into Period 2, when Jeremy Brown rapped in a Marquis Mathieu rebound.

The Amerks reclaimed the lead, 2-1, midway through the second on a Craig Fisher goal - a 2-on-1 after a good Baby Bruins foray had failed at the other end.

But Ferraro, who spent much of the campaign up with the parent Bruins, got Providence back even at 12:33.

With the clubs skating 4-on-4, Ferraro danced past defenseman Dean Melanson high in the zone, walked down the slot and blasted a slapper that broke through the pads of Biron.

On the penalty that led to the go-ahead Rochester goal, Ferraro was clotheslined by Mike Hurlbut with no call. His retaliatory slash was called.

1999 Boston Herald

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